Woman, 26, ID’d after deadly Perris wreck involving big-rig

UPDATED: Saturday, Jan. 2, 3:35 p.m., With coroner’s release of information.

Originally Published: Thursday, Dec. 31, 1:32 p.m.

PERRIS, Calif. — Authorities say a woman was killed after a two-vehicle crash involving a passenger vehicle and tractor-trailer combo in Perris Wednesday morning, Dec. 30.

The accident led to a lengthy rescue operation after the victim’s car crashed into the big-rig’s trailer and her vehicle became wedged underneath it on Harvill Avenue, south of Cajalco Expressway and just west of I-215.


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Deputies from the Perris Sheriff’s Station and California Highway Patrol officers, along with Cal Fire-Riverside and other emergency personnel were summoned to the scene at 7:28 a.m., after receiving multiple 911 calls reporting a vehicle that had crashed into a big-rig and trailer.

Callers reported the vehicle was all the way underneath the trailer and that a woman was critically injured and trapped within the car.

Firefighters work to free a woman whose vehicle became wedged under the trailer of a big-rig after a collision in Perris. Despite their efforts the victim, Chrystal Romero, 26, of Riverside, passed away at the scene. Patrick Brennan/Epicenter News photo

When officials arrived they found a black Chrysler 200 wedged deep under the big-rig’s trailer, with much of its roof torn off and destroyed.

Based on the circumstances and the entrapment, firefighters requested additional resources to the scene. They then began a cut and rescue operation to extricate the victim from her destroyed vehicle; but found the car to be too far wedged under the heavy trailer.

A heavy tow wrecker was eventually called to the scene to lift the trailer enough to allow an engine at the scene to manually winch the car out; at which time they confirmed the victim had already succumbed to her injuries and had passed away at the scene.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials have since identified Chrystal Romero, 26, of Riverside, as the victim killed in the collision. A coroner’s release indicated she was pronounced deceased at 8:30 a.m.

“They tried so hard to save this person that when they were finally told it was over I cried with them,” Riverside resident Patrick Brennan, of Epicenter News, later said of the fatal accident.

“They tried their best to save the person but the car was too far wedged in,” Brennan continued; adding, “My heart goes out to the driver.”


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Although sheriff’s officials have not provided any details related to their investigation, evidence at the scene indicated the truck was making a left turn from the Arco Travel Zone Center and truck stop onto Harvill Avenue when the victim’s vehicle struck the trailer, becoming wedged underneath it.

The sheriff’s investigation is ongoing and officials have not yet determined who was at fault or if alcohol and/or drug intoxication or distracted driving were contributing factors in the deadly collision.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Patrick Brennan/Epicenter News photos

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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